Mrs. South Dakota 2017, Delena Tupy, visited the Tulare Community Daycare on Friday, June 23, 2017 bringing a trunk full of new toys.
"You know, we do fundraisers and drop stuff off for the Angel Tree and such, but I feel like it is okay to do it at all different times and for different reasons, or no reason at all, just 'because,'" said Tupy. "It is important for little kids not to just always get hand-me-downs. It is good to see them excited."
The "toy drop" is an idea Mrs. Tupy personally came up with as a volunteer opportunity. Crowned Mrs. South Dakota on December 3rd of this past year, Tupy's reign will go through next December. She has been married for 23 years now and has a daughter and a son, ages 20 and 17. She said that her daughter's experiences while living with Epilepsy inspired her to take that subject on as one of her platforms while reigning as Mrs. South Dakota. Her second platform is Scoliosis, a condition she herself is very familiar with.
"I have rods in my back due to Scoliosis," said Tupy. "You don't even know that I have Scoliosis, but I struggle, because it is my health. I get migraines and my lower hips are off, so I have pain down there. But as I have shared, other people have shared their stories as well. It is raising awareness. I get back by giving"
Tupy said that she also took on the subjects of Scoliosis and Epilepsy because they aren't often talked about.
"In the school system, with my daughter, nobody could know," said Tupy. "It was not to be talked about. The nurse and the teachers could know, and that is all. And part of me thinks, you know, well, maybe they are just trying to make it so that people don't look at her and go, 'uh-oh, what if she has a seizure ?' But on the other hand, people need to know, because what if she does have a seizure ? You don't have to be afraid of that."
As Tupy prepares for the Mrs. America pageant to take place in Las Vegas in August, she said she is grateful for all of the changes being in pageantry has brought to her life.
"I had never been in pageantry before. This is my first time," said Tupy. "Some friends encouraged me and I said, 'I'm not sure.' And I thought, you know, why not ? After I signed up and got into it and started doing some things volunteer-wise I just thought 'this is really great.' I love doing this and meeting people. I have contacts I didn't have before and I enjoy supporting our state and doing lots of different donations."
Tupy has picked at least one place to donate to every month since she was crowned. Besides daycares, she has donated toys to several humane societies as well, as "furry friends" are close to her heart. She herself owns three dogs.
Meanwhile, she encourages others who may be on the fence about pageantry.
"Go for it. I hesitated, but there is no reason to hesitate because it can bring something out of you that you might not have even realized you had within you. It is a great opportunity to stand up for your state and meet new people and do some things you never thought that you would do," said Tupy. "Thus far I have had great support from the directors and they have really given me guidance and helped me to be where I am today. I appreciate all of the people who have given me the opportunities to come and speak. I also appreciate the daycares that have allowed me to come in and bring some of those toys, and I want to thank my family. They have been my backbone. They have just been behind me and supportive through the whole thing."